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Justin Rose Penalized, Then Un-penalized
By Torleif Sorenson on 5/12/14

Justin Rose was rescued from the same fate Tiger Woods suffered at last year's BMW Championship outside Chicago.

During the third round of the Players Championship on Saturday afternoon, Justin Rose addressed his ball for a chip-shot at the 18th green at TPC Sawgrass. But when the ball possibly moved in the soft grass after Rose grounded his club, he stepped away. Rose even called over playing partner Sergio Garcia, who watched a replay on a large outdoor video board with Rose.
"We both clearly look at the evidence and look at the replay and say, 'No, absolutely the ball didn't move. But under 50 times magnification in the truck, maybe the ball moved a quarter of a dimple toward the toe of the club. Obviously, if the ball moved, it moved. And I get assessed an extra stroke penalty."
Indeed, the PGA Tour slapped Rose with a violation of Rule 18-2b. His scorecard was changed to a 73 from a 71, leaving him seven shots in arrears of Martin Kaymer and Jordan Spieth.

But then on Sunday, just before Rose teed off in the final round, the PGA Tour relented and removed the two-shot penalty, based on Decision 18/4, implemented this past November in response to the cruel fate Tiger suffered just two months earlier.

In their statement, the Tour gave their explanation:
At the time of the review immediately following Rose’s round, in which Rose participated, it was thought that Decision 18/4 (Television Evidence Shows Ball at Rest Changed Position But by Amount Not Reasonably Discernible to Naked Eye) a copy of which is attached, was not applicable because the review of the footage shown in the telecast showed that the ball may have moved in a way that was discernable to the naked eye and when viewing the incident with Rose in the television compound, it was confirmed that the ball did in fact move very slightly. Thus, at the time, the Rules Committee deemed that the ball had moved in a manner that was reasonably discernable to the naked eye. The Committee, therefore, assessed the general penalty under Rule 18 of two strokes.

Overnight, given the fact that Decision 18/4 had been implemented in January of 2014, yet had not been utilized in PGA TOUR competition, the Rules Committee reopened the incident and focused on how much the use of sophisticated technology played a part in making the original ruling. After that review, it was determined that the only way to confirm whether and how much the ball had in fact changed position, was to utilize sophisticated technology.

This morning, after consulting with the governing bodies and PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, it was determined that without the use of sophisticated technology, it was not reasonably discernable to the naked eye that the ball had left its original position and had come to rest in its original place. Thus, the player's determination that the ball had not moved was deemed to be conclusive and the penalty does not apply in this situation. Having reached this decision, the Committee immediately notified Rose and rescinded the 2-stroke penalty.


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